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Enda Kenny set to announce Cabinet reshuffle in the Dáil tomorrow

Earlier, Taoiseach said he was “getting on very well with the Tánaiste”.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Updated 9.36pm 

ENDA KENNY IS expected to announce a Cabinet reshuffle in the Dáil tomorrow morning.

Opposition parties have been notified that the Taoiseach will make a speech at 10.30am.

This will be followed by a speech by Tánaiste Joan Burton, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin leaders, as well a representative from the Technical Group.

Earlier this evening, Kenny said that he’s “getting on very well with the Tánaiste” as the pair prepared to sign off on the coalition’s new priorities for the remainder of its term in office later this evening.

Kenny told reporters in Dublin this evening that he would like to think talks between the two parties on the reshuffle would conclude “pretty quickly”.

He said that the Cabinet reshuffle is “the last of the issues that one would discuss”.

“I think it’s important first of all that it’s not about personalities or faces. Actually, it is about the enthusiasm and the movement forward of the government in the country’s interests and to put forward a team, the best team that you can put forward to achieve those objectives,” he said.

“So I’ll go and have a meeting shortly with the Tánaiste and see can we make further progress. I’d like to think that it could be concluded as quickly as possible.”

Kenny would not be drawn on the apparent dispute over which party gets the Jobs portfolio, saying “there’s been a lot of speculation about all of these jobs”.

He said that the new Cabinet will have to “work harder than any of their predecessors” and added: “We have great deal of work to put in place and we look forward to that.”

Deal done

A deal between the two parties is largely done but TheJournal.ie understands that Kenny and Burton were due to meet to sign off on the policy document this evening.

The Taoiseach attended an engagement at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle this evening, and was due to meet Burton afterwards.

The document will outline what the government intends to do in the period between now and the next general election.

Despite earlier suggestions that the Cabinet reshuffle could be announced as soon as this evening, it is now set to take place tomorrow.

The Taoiseach must inform the Dáil of any changes to the ministerial ranks which means it would be logistically difficult to announce the reshuffle to the house this evening.

A government spokesperson has insisted today that there are “no deadlines” to the talks concluding.

Earlier…

Earlier, a senior government source told TheJournal.ie at lunchtime: ”Unless something happens in the next two hours it won’t be today.”

The Dáil is sitting until 8pm tomorrow to deal with four pieces of legislation.

Government TDs have been told to make themselves available for votes as there will be no pairs – which would allow them to miss votes. However such a notification is not unusual for what are only fortnightly Friday sittings.

Another source close to the negotiations had earlier said that an announcement “tomorrow looks unlikely”.

It’s emerged that Kenny and new Tánaiste Joan Burton did not actually meet for face-to-face talks yesterday as both were tied up with government, Dáil and Seanad business.

The Taoiseach also intervened in the ongoing Garth Brooks concert issue in the hope of seeking a resolution.

The Fine Gael and Labour leaders had held a series of one-to-one meetings on Monday and Tuesday. A draft policy document agreed by the pair was given to advisors yesterday.

Credibility ‘shredded’

It’s understood the policy teams of both party leaders held lengthy discussions on the document yesterday but there was no discussion about portfolios or the reshuffle.

Another source said late last night that there was “no deadline” to the talks and they remain ongoing.

Already details of the policy document have emerged with Kenny telling the Dáil yesterday that the government has agreed to prioritise the introduction of free GP care for over 70s.

In the Dáil this afternoon Burton said she had “fruitful” talks with the Taoiseach and said she hoped that free GP care could also be extended to primary school and secondary school children.

A source close to the talks told TheJournal.ie yesterday that there was “no particular rush” to get the reshuffle signed off on. The source added that the day to day business of running the country had gotten in the way of the discussions.

Speaking outside Leinster House this lunchtime, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said that while he did not want to “speculate about speculation” the delay is damaging the coalition’s credibility.

“Whatever credibility the government has left after the last local and European elections will be shredded by the indecisiveness by the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach,” he said.

- additional reporting Paul Hosford 

First published 7.56am 

Read: The Fine Gael-Labour split over Richard Bruton’s job is ‘more like a tug of love’

Read: Why is it taking longer than expected to announce the Cabinet reshuffle?

Read: The wait goes on: Cabinet reshuffle may not be announced until Friday

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Hugh O'Connell

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